Pet ownership booms during lockdown leading to soaring revenues at Pets at Home

Pets at Home said revenues have soared over the past year following a boom in pet ownership during the pandemic.

The pandemic has strengthened the emotional bond between people and their pets

The firm said group revenues jumped 7.9 per cent to a record £1.14bn for the year to March 25.

However, underlying pre-tax profits for the year fell 6.4 per cent year-on-year to £87.5m following £30m in Covid-related revenue restrictions and costs.

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Pets at Home chief executive, Peter Pritchard, said: “This has been the most extraordinary period in my 35 years in retail.

“The pandemic has brought about permanent changes to the way we work and spend our leisure time, removing historical barriers to pet ownership and strengthening the emotional bond between people and their pets.

“I am pleased to say that thanks to our unique pet care ecosystem and the tireless efforts of our colleagues, we have taken a greater share of this growing market and are emerging from the pandemic a stronger business.”

Freetrade analyst David Kimberley said: "One of the things we’re seeing now that a semblance of normal life is returning to parts of the world is the question of whether trends that began during the pandemic will continue after it.

"It’s hard to see it happening in some cases. Zoom calls, sourdough baking and high supermarket sales all look likely to drop off as we start to go out and see friends and family again.

"But Pets at Home’s success looks likely to continue. About three million UK households bought a pet during the pandemic, an astonishing number when you think there are only about 28m in the whole country. And the thing with pets is that you can’t just dispose of them as you might with some other lockdown-induced fancy.

"Their regular medical checkups, food and treats mean Pets at Home is likely to have a fairly reliable revenue stream for the foreseeable future. The success of the company’s member club will also please shareholders as it's another sign future spending can be locked in.

"We also shouldn’t forget this was something we were seeing before the pandemic as well, with an ever-increasing number of people seeming to supplant having children with buying a dog.

"The rather gloomy statistic that a third of pet owners actually prefer their furry friends to their children suggests even regular families will still be happy to splash the cash on their puppies and kittens when the coronavirus is gone."